I’ve devoted quite a few of these columns in recent months to the scourge of gun violence. In February, after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I wrote about how another gun-loving country—Australia—managed to put a stop to its own relentless procession of shooting deaths, boldly creating a national firearms safety model that truly works. (Here’s how that cool country down under all but ended gun violence.)
And I’ve written as well about why efforts to control gun violence in the U.S.—efforts that largely ignore the weapons themselves—have failed, and will continue to fail.
Remarkably, we continue to witness that abject failure every day, to the point where the number of young victims, staggering as it is, blends into the routine.
In May, a teenaged gunman armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver killed nine students and a teacher and injured 13 others at Santa Fe High School, in Santa Fe, Texas. It was, believe it or not, the 22nd school shooting of the year. Between the February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the May massacre at Santa Fe High School, there were shootings at schools in Georgia, Alabama, California, Montana, Virginia, Maryland, Florida (again), California (again), and Illinois, according to the Washington Post’s school shooting database. There were three casualties at Great Mills High School in Maryland. At Huffman High School in Birmingham, Alabama, 17-year-old Courtlin Arrington was shot dead. She was two months shy of graduation. She had hoped to become a nurse.
Amid this daily bludgeoning of grim news, the American public is still bitterly divided on what to do about it. But the movement seems to be toward greater control of firearms. According to an April survey by the Marist Poll, for NPR and the PBS NewsHour, 52% of U.S. adults (and 51% of registered voters) say “stricter gun regulation should be an immediate priority for the current Congress.” (That includes 75% of Democrats, 50% of Independents, and 26% of Republicans.)
But whether Congress acts or not, we can be encouraged that other American leaders are taking action. One of those, I’m happy to say, is Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., who is leading his iconic American company to take a stand against this threat to public health. This morning Chip published an important commentary that I hope you’ll all read and share.
He explains why his values-driven firm is taking action now, and the three specific initiatives Levi Strauss is undertaking.
In my view, it’s a bold and important move for a great American company. Read his Fortune op-ed here.
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